You’ll be pleased to know that I found Indonesia to be one of the cheaper places to travel. It is a very welcome reprieve if you’ve arrived from the most expensive country in the world, not mentioning any names… Australia.
For nearly a month of travel, excluding flights, I spent around $1000 Australian dollars, which in the grand scheme of things really isn’t that bad. My number one piece of advice is, quite simply, don’t live like a king. Just because everything is so cheap, it doesn’t mean that you need a 5-course meal with a bottle of grey goose. Okay, slight exaggeration, but budgeting will be your friend. If you have the money then be my guest, however, if you’re working to a budget then Ben has spoken!
Just like everywhere, you kind of get what you pay for when it comes to accommodation, although you do tend to get more for your money here. There is accommodation that is catered for all budgets which is fantastic when you want to live on the cheap for a couple of nights and then treat yourself for the next few days with a nicer accommodation.
$72 per night – You can find some absolute bangin’ Airbnb’s which are just absolutely gorgeous. I’m talking a lush, private oasis with open plan living and a private pool. Some are set in the heart of the city, whilst others are secluded in a rice paddy field. Our Airbnb was in Seminyak. I guess it was a little more on the expensive side but it was definitely worth it. Plus, our host was lovely and told us the best places to eat and even arranged tours for us!
$9 per night – This is one of my absolute favourite hostels that I’ve stayed in. It is a little out of Ubud centre so you will need a scooter to get around but it’s 100% worth it. I’m talking an infinity pool (yes infinity pool) that overlooks the rice paddy fields, traditional Balinese huts with bunk beds including en suite and a free breakfast! You can’t go wrong for $9.
$12 per night – Cheeky Monkeys wasn’t the most palatial place that we stayed and unfortunately you will be paying a little more just because it’s Gili T. However, this is a cute hostel, including 2 cute cats and hammocks. The room was a fan room and could get a little stuffy and the shower was pretty cold. Just embrace island life!
$16 a night – One of my favourite places that we stayed in Indonesia! Air con, check, warm shower, check, Indonesian charm… check! This beautiful, quiet hotel was absolutely perfect. The rooms are in Indonesian style huts which are spacious and airy and the beach is a short 10-minute walk away. There is an open air en suite and best of all the breakfast is free! Can’t get better than that!
Food and Drink
If you’re watching the pennies, and sticking to your budget, then the perfect way to save money on food is to eat at Warungs. Warungs are local village restaurants and some of the food is amazing! Now, just use your common sense when it comes to warungs. Some of them look like a normal restaurant, and these are the best ones to eat in. Others are slightly questionable so just be smart.
- For a standard Indonesian meal of Nasi Goreng or Mie Goreng you’re talking between 25,000 and 50,000 rupiah, so around $2 – $5.
- Restaurants will be more expensive, especially on the Gili islands. For an Indonesian meal, on average, it will be around 45,000 and 80,000 rupiah per meal, between $4 – $8. If you’re after a Western style meal such as steak, burgers and pizza then the average price is normally between 70,000 and 150,000 rupiah, so around $7 – $15.
- Soft drinks such as Coke, Sprite and Fanta normally range from 15,000 to 30,000 rupiah, around $1 – $3.
- If you drink alcohol, then I’m 99% sure that you will end up drinking beer as this is the cheapest option. The local beer is called Bintang and I guarantee that this will be your favourite drink by the end of your trip… or not. A small Bintang will set you back around 25,000 to 35,000 rupiah, so $2 – $3. A large Bintang will cost between 40,000 and 50,000 rupiah, so between $4 – $5.
- If you’re a wine drinker then wave goodbye to any hopes of you drinking wine, unless you want to pay the extortionate prices.
- Spirits such as gin, vodka and rum will cost between 60,000 and 80,000 rupiah, around $6 – $8.
I would highly recommend tracking down a decent happy hour when you’re on the Gili Islands. On Gili T, we got 2 Mojitos for 60,000 rupiah which is pretty decent! On average, cocktails will cost you between 60,000 and 120,000 rupiah which is around $6 to $12.
Getting around Indonesia is super easy! There are a variety of ways that you can get around the islands and they’re not exactly going to break the bank and are friendly for your budget.
One of the best ways to discover Bali for us was by scooter. Set yourself up in different locations, such as Jimbaran, and then explore the surrounding areas on a scooter like Uluwatu and Nusa Dua. The daily rate is normally 50,000 to 60,000 rupiah, around $5 – $6. They will either come with a full tank of petrol or empty, however, to fill up at a petrol station it only costs 10,000 rupiah, which is $1. So drive to your heart’s content! Just please wear a helmet and be safe.
This is a taxi app, similar to Uber, however, we had a few problems getting Uber to work around Indonesia. Grab allows you to pay by cash so you don’t have to faff around with currency conversion charges and the prices are really good! We took a Grab from Seminyak to Padang Bai, and this cost 120,000 rupiah for 2 hours in the taxi! Can’t go wrong for $12.
Gili Island Ferry
If you’re wanting to explore the Gili Islands, then you will be able to catch a ferry from Amed, Sanur or Padang Bai. Wherever you decide to depart from, there will be heaps of signs selling ferry tickets to the Gili’s. We used easygili.com which cost 450,000 rupiah return trip and also included a bus transfer to our next destination which was a pretty good deal. If you are a hard haggler, then I’m sure you will be able to get cheaper. To hop between the Gili Islands, tickets are around 40,000 rupiah.
So, there we have the basics about prices within Indonesia! Prices will vary wherever you visit, and I can only speak for Bali and the Gili Islands. I visited in February, so these prices should be pretty recent and reliable.
Wherever you stay within Indonesia, and with whatever budget, you will have the best time, I can guarantee it!